A KHOU-TV Channel 11 news report that aired late last month on Peck Elementary School has resulted in a big surprise for the campus and its principal—and some very public recognition on a popular TV show.
Ellen DeGeneres, the host of the daytime talk show of the same name, heard about the district’s Homeless Outreach Center there through that broadcast, and her staff reached out to Principal Carlotta Brown to see if they could feature the school on the show.
That episode aired on Thursday, May 14, and during the segment, Brown was surprised with a $100,000 check to support campus programs and a $10,000 check for herself. (Watch the segment here.)
“I was elated,” said Brown of her response. “At first, I thought somebody was punking me. I thought I was in a dream. It was like Publisher’s Clearinghouse. Ellen herself was on the monitor (via Skype) and I just started crying. It was surreal, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I haven’t had one bit of sleep since then. I never expected that in my wildest dreams. It’s overwhelming.”
Brown said that DeGeneres praised her and her campus for the work they were doing to serve children, noting that theirs was one of the largest gifts–if not THE largest gift–she had ever awarded in the history of the show. The gift was coordinated through Target’s Thanks a Billion teacher appreciation initiative.
“My mantra is to always help somebody and bless somebody,” added Brown, “because someday your blessings will come back to you.”
Brown plans to purchase iPads and laptops for her students with the campus donation. She will use her own windfall to offset her husband’s medical expenses and to pay for a family trip to Hawai’i.